We Hired a Crook to Solve His Own Crime

The Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey was built with the labor of undocumented workers. As the Washington Post reports, undocumented workers have been consistently employed there over the years, including a large number from the Costa Rican village of Santa Teresa de Cajon.

Soon after Trump broke ground at Bedminster in 2002 with a golden shovel, this village emerged as a wellspring of low-paid labor for the private club, which charges tens of thousands of dollars to join. Over the years, dozens of workers from Costa Rica went north to fill jobs as groundskeepers, housekeepers and dishwashers at Bedminster, former employees said. The club hired others from El Salvador, Mexico and Guatemala who spoke to The Post. Many ended up in the blue-collar borough of Bound Brook, N.J., piling into vans before dawn to head to the course each morning.

Imagine if someone ran for president arguing that the number one priority for the country was to combat the influx of drugs entering the country through the Mexican border. Imagine if they argued that the problem was so severe that we needed to surrender some of our constitutional rights in support of the effort to fix the problem. Imagine that this candidate succeeded in getting elected on this platform.

Finally, imagine that it soon emerged that they were actually one of the larger customers for Mexican drugs and that they had a vast criminal enterprise dedicated to putting those drugs up our kid’s noses and into their veins.

That is very close to what we’re dealing with here. Trump ran a more general campaign against Latin American immigration, so the drug problem was only a subset of his pitch. He was also complaining about other kinds of crime, especially of the violent variety. But a main concern of his was that illegal immigration drives down wages and costs Americans opportunities for employment. Yet, he was a large American employer who was emptying villages of people eager to cross our border and work for his hotels and resorts.

Over the years, the network from Costa Rica to Bedminster expanded as workers recruited friends and relatives, some flying to the United States on tourist visas and others paying smugglers thousands of dollars to help them cross the U.S.-Mexico border, former employees said. New hires needed little more than a crudely printed phony green card and a fake Social Security number to land a job, they said.

Some workers described Bedminster as their launchpad to buy homes and start businesses. Others remembered it as grueling labor under bosses who were demanding, even bigoted — and who at times used the workers’ illegal status against them…

…“For me, moving to the U.S. wasn’t a very drastic change,” said Mauricio Garro, 36, who worked in maintenance at the golf course for five years until he returned to Santa Teresa in 2010. “My whole town practically lived there.”

Anyone who is angry about undocumented people taking American jobs and still takes anything Trump has to say about the issue seriously is no different from someone who would support a anti-drug candidate even after learning that they were one of El Chapo’s biggest American distributors.

Anyone can be the victim of a con, but when the con is exposed you are supposed to take some kind of defensive action to prevent being conned again. Too many of our citizens seem incapable of learning from their mistakes. It’s becoming a rather pathetic spectacle.

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Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at ProgressPond.com